- Field Service Management
New recruiting techniques to overcome the shortage of maintenance technicians
As service companies face the challenges of recruiting maintenance technicians, they’re adopting new approaches that go beyond simply posting job ads. These new approaches are key to meeting the expectations of Generations Y and Z. The maintenance technician profession is regularly included in lists of the top 10 professions where recruiting is most difficult. In a 2019 survey on manpower needs, French company, Pôle emploi, determined that 68% of the 20,100 recruiting projects it assessed were difficult. As with all professions with a shortage, the balance of power has been reversed. Because maintenance technicians are in high demand, they’re spoiled for choice. They can name their demands, especially in terms of the hours they work. This fact is particularly true among Generation Y — those born between 1981 and 1996 — and Generation Z — those born in 1997 and later. Unlike older generations, these young workers don’t put their entire focus on work. Millennials are looking for a balance between their professional and personal lives. They’re also searching for meaning and prefer companies that impart humanistic and environmental values. Millennials see the pyramidal hierarchies and red tape in some companies as vestiges of the past. They prefer a flat organisational structure that’s agile enough to give them maximum autonomy. And they expect management to change their approach, shifting away from the tyrannical boss approach to become benevolent team enablers A good atmosphere at work is also an important requirement, and that doesn’t just mean installing a foosball table or a pinball machine. Generations Y and Z are children of the digital world who grew up with a smartphone in their hands. They’re used to immediacy and ubiquity and they want to find the same fluid and intuitive technologies they use in their private life at their place of employment. This makes it important to use the latest generation of field service management software. If candidates for maintenance technician jobs can’t find what they’re looking for, they may turn down an offer or resign after just a few days on the job. To attract and retain technicians in 2020, employers must adopt new approaches.
Go beyond simply posting job ads
In terms of finding candidates, the first priority is to come up with new approaches beyond simply posting jobs on generic recruiting sites or publications that target technicians. Professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Viadeo aren’t often used by maintenance technicians, but recruiters shouldn’t ignore the fact that their future employees have a massive presence on Instagram and Snapchat. Because candidates spend more time on their mobile devices than on computers, the company’s website must be based on responsive web design principles to ensure it is optimised for use on mobile devices. The content in the careers section is particularly important. Companies must be sure to share insights into the work environment, benefits, training opportunities and career development paths they offer. Technicians can become ambassadors for the company, explaining their job and working conditions in a video. Blogs can also be used to strengthen the employer brand by promoting the company’s technical expertise and customer base. Maintenance doesn’t have a great image today and young people are either unaware of the work opportunities it provides or have a bad perception of the technician role. As a result, companies must evangelise the opportunities. But they must also be careful not to make false promises. Millennials will check sites such as Glassdoor, the TripAdvisor of employment, where employees share their opinions about their employers.
Make it easy to apply
The application form should be as simple as possible. If it becomes an obstacle, even the most enthusiastic candidates will give up. Chatbots can take the automation process a step further. These conversational robots answer the questions candidates ask most often and help them use the company’s careers page. For example, Jobijoba’s CV Catcher automatically analyses the content in a resume an applicant has uploaded so it can direct the person to the most relevant openings.
Consider video interviews and employee referrals
In its latest report on HR trends, the Top Employers Institute notes there’s a resurgence in an older recruiting technique: employee referrals. According to the report, 73% of France’s top employers use the approach, an increase of 13% in one year. Employees know their company and what their network is looking for so they’re in an ideal position to ensure a good match between the two. Because employees have committed themselves personally, they won’t risk recommending a poor choice. This peer recommendation system, which typically includes a financial bonus, allows companies to tap into the hidden job market. The Top Employers Institute also points out there’s been a breakthrough in video job interviews, with 46% of top employers in France using the method, an increase of 8% in one year. Video interviews save candidates from potentially making multiple trips to the employer’s offices. Because candidates are at home, they’re less stressed. It also helps hiring managers save time because they can watch the interviews one after another.
Focus on behavioral skills
Hiring approaches that focus on behavioral skills are another big trend in recent years. In addition to technical skills, companies are increasingly looking for technicians with soft skills such as self-discipline, initiative, listening skills and the ability to manage stress. Virtual reality can be used to immerse candidates in their future work environment so employers’ can assess their suitability for the job. The behavioral skills approach also prevails in affinity matching and predictive recruiting solutions. Solutions, such as AssessFirst, which are powered by artificial intelligence, analyse a large volume of data to assess an individual’s ability to succeed in a position within the context and culture of the company they’re applying to.
Quickly integrate news technicians onto the team
Once technicians are hired, the hardest part starts: keeping them. We know that millennials don’t hesitate to change jobs. The first hundred days are crucial and employers must take special care when integrating new employees. New employees must have the best possible working conditions and an atmosphere of trust must be established. To avoid unspoken concerns and misunderstandings, listening is very important during this trial period where each party is evaluating the other. It’s also important in maintenance trades to ensure that new recruits are quickly integrated into their team. Team-building initiatives, such as escape room games and sports challenges, can strengthen team unity.
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